Category: Writing

I Find it Hard to Take

I simply cannot get this song out of my head.

I am sharing the original.

The Donnie Darko version (Michael Andrews & Gary Jules) is amazing, but it made me cry so I am going with Curt & Roland.

Yup.

Tears for Fears, indeed.

What’s Up?

 

Less blog post, more self indulgence.

Ta daa!

 

There it is in all it’s 1990s angsty glory.

4 Non Blondes.

Top hat. Goggles. Dreads.

 

You know what?

It’s still relevant.

It’s still interesting.

It still moves me.

It’s still an excellent selection for car singing.

 

How do I know?

Well, since you asked…

 

I had to go out to return a movie to the video store tonight and while I was leaving that video store this song came on the radio and since I was already living in the past – what with the video returning and all – I decided to turn it up (loud) and sing.

Every single word.

Pure joy!

Coincidentally enough, the song is the perfect length for a drive from the video store. I mean really. It took me from door to door.

Bonus: I live on a hill and when Linda Perry sings,

“Twenty-five years and my life is still
Trying to get up that great big hill of hope
For a destination

I *totally* was.

Literally.

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t literally a “hill of hope”, but maybe it was.

Who’s to say? It’s a mystery, really.

 

Back to the song.

I still love it.

That’s all.

 

Goodnight!

 

Drop and Give Me 15!

Minutes, that is. (What? You thought I meant sit-ups? *pfft* Have you met me?)

Today is a day for catching up, at home. This is exactly no one’s favourite day at Chez Peady. (Well, if I’m to be honest I have a hunch that it might be my husband’s, but I digress …)

We had a great July (everything being relative) and the oh-thank-goodness-school-is-over-we-are-free-to-run-and-swim-and-play-and-never-ever-ever-ever-clean-our-rooms, like ever, philosophy has carried us through a fun month of visiting family and favourite places, but the time has come to rediscover our peace and, let’s face it, our floors.

I’d love to be the kind of person who really gets all jazzed about being organized and tidy to a freakish fault, but alas, nope.

I’d love to be the mother of perfectly obedient* children who can fluff and fold like nobody’s business, who never interrupt, and who wake up at the crack of dawn to fashion their beds into something worthy of a military inspection, but again, nope.

I wish I had systems in place that allowed me to buy and keep every book I’ve ever read or wanted to read. I would hoard books like a bibliophile bound for her own (least watched ever) reality show.

Wishin’ and hopin’ and prayin’ that everything would be at right angles and dust free. That’s me!

But wishing, as I am willing to wager you already know, won’t make it so.

 

So, here we are on a grey, rainy, and otherwise damp, Sunday cleaning. It’s ideal, really, because grey, damp Sundays are already depressing, so we are just going with that theme! (I kid. I kid. Sort of.)

 

One of my strengths, I believe, is finding something to be happy about all the live long day most of the time. This comes in handy when it comes to rallying the troops for a cleaning mission. Why on Earth should they want to spend their time cleaning their rooms when Austin & Ally is on? I mean really! If I had the option to watch Austin & Ally instead of cleaning *my* room, I would totally choose Austin & Ally. Have you seen it? It’s terrific! Perfect for Things. Funny. Clearly, written by fun, geeky, music loving, hilarious people. I love it. Will they ever get together? The people want to know!

Anyway, as I was saying, because I am generally happy and imaginative, I also tend to be able to make things fun. This is a skill that comes in handy – especially when it comes to my children. There’s always a way to make life a little more fun or entertaining. You just have to dig a little deeper sometimes. I mean, even I am not going to claim to love cleaning a toilet or a disgusting mess from the bottom of the fridge or dealing with the latest evil Fruit Fly invasion,  but I sure as heck enjoy when those tasks are done and I might do a little happy dance to show my joy at the vomitrocious job being over and done with. Maybe. Who’s to say really? It’s a mystery.

If a little celebration after the job is done, is wrong, I don’t wanna be right. I have taught my kids that sometimes a job just needs to be done, so that we can get on to the fun that follows.

Fun always follows.

Always.

There are a lot of things about a very messy room that can be overwhelming. Ideally, no one would ever let a mess get to that point, but let’s be honest here, life is messy at the best of times and after a long, hot, happy summer day with sand and sunscreen and sticky popsicles or treats the victory is in getting kids cleaned up just enough, so they can get to sleep. (W00t!) The time just never seems right for a big clean up.

Then the mess grows and grows. Clothes that should have been sorted and donated keep finding their way into the laundry. New summery clothes come home. Drawers get stuffed to overflowing, instead of neatly filled with folded fashions. My Things are masters of “Oh, it’s fine. We’ll take care of it. No problem.” (Remember Theo Huxtable?) and they are actually pretty honest people, so we give the benefit of the doubt until the day we walk in to glance at the clean closet and see that there is no longer a floor.

*cue the Mom voice*

“How is this acceptable?!”

“This is not okay.”

“You have some work to do!”

Oh, don’t I sound sooo fun, now?

Nope.

 

What is a mother to do? I’ll tell you what.

You get yourself a timer** and you set that little gizmo for 15 minutes, pick a zone, and clean it up.

Never mistake motion for action. ~ Ernest Hemingway

The aim is not perfection (a horrible, delusional, harmful word), but rather action. You want to see a noticeable result. Not only so your “Mummy Brain” doesn’t go *kerblooie* from the sheer number of T-shirts in your kids’ collection, but also because you really are teaching your kids how to take charge of an ongoing task. It’s a life skill. You don’t want them to resent it or you. It’s just a fact of life that if you make a mess, you have to clean it up and that putting it off only leads to more stress later. Completely unnecessary stress, for that matter.

I mean, if you did a little each day, it would never be overwhelming, right?

Oh, Summer! Why ya gotta be like that?

 

There is a plethora of advice available to parents about ways to “motivate” or get kids “involved” with household chores. It can be exhausting. We have always adhered to this simple idea at Chez Peady: They live in the world, therefore they must learn to be a part of the world.

It really is that simple. Even when Thing 1 was a teeny, little Thing he would help to wipe up spills (adorable!) or line up his board books (Can you picture it? It still makes me squee!). Thing 2 loved doing dishes the “old fashioned way” with bubbles in the sink and a dishtowel apron (just like *my* Mummy showed me!) or using a cloth to hunt down spots on the walls or cupboard doors. We would present it like a fun thing, but always credited them for taking part. There is a family unit and if everyone doesn’t do his or her part, life begins to get stressful and then some pretty important things might be lost, forgotten, missed or broken. No one wants that.

This basic approach has been a great catalyst for coming up with effective, but easy-peasy ideas to just get stuff done. The sooner it’s done – and noticeable – the sooner we can move on to something fun. It counts if you go tidy for a few minutes, of course, but 15 minutes is just about (dare I say it?) perfect for getting a whole task done.

Trumpet practice? 15 minutes!

Empty lunch containers and clean them? 15 minutes!

Make a bed? 15 minutes! (Bunk beds. Ugh!)

Fold a load of towels? 15 minutes!

Gather all the hair accessories and put them away? 15 minutes!

Empty and fill dishwasher? 15 minutes!

You get the picture.

It is a magical number. Not just for the Things, either.

I often set a 15 minute timer to help me focus on getting a task done. From mail, to school forms, to meal planning or prepping, to writing (some of) my blog. Many of these everyday tasks can just get done with a focussed 15 minute approach.

Now, a gift.***

Ta daa!

Click on this to download my little “15 Minutes” sign. The original hangs in our office. True story! 15_Minutes.pdf

 

 

How does your family approach household chores? Do you involve your kids in the things that make your house a home? Do they love taking part or do they loathe chores with the fire of a thousand suns? What’s your approach when stuff just needs to get done?

I hope you print off my little sign and then do a little happy dance the next time you tick a task off of your to-do list. Please come back and share with me when you do.

 

 

*This is a falsehood. I am happy my children are unique individuals with minds of their own. They are polite, kind, funny, creative, energetic and thoughtful. I love them unconditionally. Obedience is a terrific trait in a dog, though, I suppose.

**Swear that just as I typed the word “timer” *my* timer – also set for 15 minutes – went off! Honest to Martha Stewart!

***For the record I have been calling the above gift a “PeadyF”. Get it? Hah! I kill me!

Thursdays with Peady

I guess I have established a pattern.

I have established many, let’s be honest, but as far as this little bloggy woggy adventure of mine is concerned, there’s a definite correlation between posting something new and Thursdays.

I always thought Wednesday was my day. Wednesday is right there in the middle of the week full of potential for goodness and accomplishment and in my lifetime a lot of good days have been Wednesdays. I count on Wednesdays to be great. Perhaps it’s my own perception, then, that of late they’ve been lacklustre. Nothing special. Nothing to write home about. (Does anybody actually write home anymore? Letters are rarer and rarer these days. Do me a solid? Remind me to write home later, okay? Now where was I…?)

Anyway, what I am trying to say is that, for me, Thursday is the New Wednesday.**

So, here we are again on a Thursday. It’s no surprise, really, is it? I mean Wednesday was so yesterday!

Literally.

When we last met, I was freaking out about having to write a bio for some awesome blogger friends, with amazing blogs, who have very graciously asked me to contribute a little something to their corner of cyberspace over the summer. Yeah, ummm.. about those patterns..

I know! I am the worst! I feel horrible because I am having the hardest time with what should be the simplest of tasks, but there you have it. Bio-less in Bedford. That’s me.

It’s completely ridiculous and I will make no excuses, except to say that writing about myself in any way that even hints at any of the “self” stuff (self-promotion, self-assertion, self-assurance, self-confidence) is excruciatingly challenging. I’m working on it.

I will promote the bajoopees out of friends’ “stuff”. I can see the merit in all the interesting things they do. I promote and share lots of information, every single day, that has absolutely nothing to do with me, personally. It is sincere. I believe in the things I share and talk about online. I do it in the interest of spreading goodness in the world. I am good at it. It might not amount to a hill of beans in the long run, but in the here and now it matters to me that more good finds its way into the world.

Have you ever noticed the people online who share and re-share lots of things, but only if it is about them?

So, say someone writes something really great and Luke shares it with all his friends and Leia shares Luke’s share with all her friends and then Darth Vader comes along and sees that they are discussing the awesome (though terrifying) nature of his choke hold and he then shares both Luke’s and Leia’s shares even though that is essentially sharing a lot of the same stuff, but it’s about him, so it must be great!

Yeah. That.

That’s not me. That’s never been me. That will never be me. (Though I do do a fine conjugation, eh?)

I don’t begrudge the self-promoters. Not at all. If one is trying to make a go of any kind of career a little self-promotion is a good thing. It’s essential, to some degree, I suppose, but it’s not easy for me and the more I think about it the more cringe worthy this all seems.

Shall I over explain it some more? Or do you kind of understand what I am trying to say? (I’ll wait here while you shut down your browsers, never to return…)

Still here? Oh yay! Thank you! I appreciate that.

Now what? Well, I made a promise to myself to step outside of my comfort zone and, gosh darn it, I’m going to do exactly that.

Oh, look! A visual aid for everyone’s enjoyment. (Please note my website address, while I go lie down.) *faints*

 

 

No I won’t suddenly be like a scene from “Being John Malkovich“, I assure you, but I am going to write that bio and I am going to find a suitable photo to go along with it, if it’s the last thing I do!***

Besides, this time I also made a promise to my friends and they will hold me to it.

Dammit.

Happy Thursday! The next time we meet I will have a bio and a new set of friends!

I kid. I kid.

I do hope to have at least one new friend, though. Preferably one with mad photoshop skills!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Mitch Albom wrote a beautiful book called “Tuesdays with Morrie“. If you haven’t already, I suggest you read it.

**I hope you are familiar with OITNB. If not look here, or here or here.

***This week. 🙂 Also, purely by coincidence, I am accepting applications for personal trainer, hair, makeup, photographer and photoshop guru.

Me! Me! Me! Meeeee!

Why do I agree to these things? I say I’ll do a thing because I want to do the thing. I am capable of doing the thing. I will maybe even be halfway decent at doing the thing. Maybe, just maybe, someone will even enjoy the thing. The thing will be good for me. It will allow me to flex a new muscle. It will show *me* I can do the thing. I swear I’m going to do the thing!

BUT!

Then I have to actually do the thing and that is not easy. In fact, it is difficult.

Capital “Things“?

I have them all figured out. Things are easy. They are mine. They are delightful. Happy. Smart. Positive. Fun. Energetic. Adventurous. Kind. I’m happy to spend all my time and energy on my Things. I am fully invested in Things.

It’s those darned lower case “things” that get me all tongue tied and twisted* into knots. Why is it so hard?

I’ll just wait here while you all do the research and get back to me with a definitive answer to my question. *twiddles thumbs* *looks skyward to day dream*

Hmm? What’s that? You don’t know the answer!?! Oh darn. I was really hoping you would because I am totally clueless. Baffled in Bedford. Yup. That’s me.

Except, well, you see, the thing** is, I really do want to give these things a go. So, I have to muster up the courage and take the next step. I’ll try to keep my whining to a relatively inaudible whimper. I promise.

I have to write a bio. A biography. It’s really more of an “autobio” since I am writing it myself, though, isn’t it? I mean isn’t that one of the first things you learn when you start reading about famous people or historical figures? Biographies are books written by other people about a person and Autobiographies are written by the person who is the subject of the book, right? Why then is “bio” the go to term on the internet. Alex is right. The internet *is* crazy, yo! (But I digress …)

Anyhoo!

Essentially, I have to write an “All About Me” blurb for another blogger, Candace from Life in Pleasantville, who is awesome and talented and sweet and kind (and, and, and!!), who has gathered some other really talented writers to write some blog posts over the summer AND (yeah, I just typed that again!) I am feeling very – I’ve got to be honest – intimidated and thinking that maybe she has me confused with another Peady.. or accidentally asked me.. or maybe, just maybe she had had one too many Margaritas that fateful night. (Don’t get me wrong. I’m not judging! I would love a few too many Margaritas. Right now. Maybe then I could unclench enough to write this silly “bio”. Autobio! Whatever!!) (GAH!)

She assures me this is not the case. I am still giving her a faraway *side eye*, but that’s just because I am a healthy skeptic.

Hey! That was something about me! Maybe I can do this!

 

*Dave Matthews mind worms are FREE!

**Has anyone seen my thesaurus?!

***For those who are following me on Twitter, I ate the pecan butter tart, like, an hour and forty-seven minutes ago, so I guess I better hit “publish” soon.

**** The “I’m so adjective, I verb nouns” guy is in so many places on the net that it’s hard to apply a source. If you know, let me know!